More than 100 euros per ton by 2030

The President of the Federal Environment Agency Dirk Messner expects a significant price increase for this decade. Only in this way could the performance effect in the direction of climate protection unfold, says the head of the authorities in an interview.

Coal power plants are a major cause of greenhouse gas emissions.

Dhe President of the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), Dirk Messner, considers a significant increase in the CO2 price to be necessary in order to have a sufficient steering effect in the direction of climate protection. “The CO2 price will have to rise,” said Messner in the “Interview of the Week” on Deutschlandfunk. The experts largely agreed that this would have to be more than one hundred euros by the end of the decade.

The CO2 price for heat and transport is currently 25 euros; according to the current legal situation, it is expected to rise to 55 euros by 2025. At their party congress on Friday, the Greens decided to call for a CO2 price of 60 euros from 2023.

Awards as an election issue

In the past few days there had been heated public debates, mainly because of the rise in gasoline prices associated with higher CO2 prices. Although the Union and, with some restrictions, the SPD, in principle, support the CO2 price as a steering instrument, the criticism was directed primarily against the Greens. Messner evaluated the statements made by the SPD candidate for Chancellor Olaf Scholz as “campaign rhetoric”.

The decisive factor for him is “that all parties have now agreed in principle that we want to pursue climate protection – at a fairly high level of ambition,” said the UBA President. “We have now received from the federal government a 65 percent reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. All the other parties have also underlined that. ”The Greens even wanted to“ go a little further ”, but there was“ a basic consensus ”on the goal, said Messner.

Dirk Messner, President of the Federal Environment Agency.
Dirk Messner, President of the Federal Environment Agency.: Image: dpa

Regarding the price of petrol, he said that increasing it should of course not be the only instrument. A better infrastructure for electromobility is also necessary. However, if the CO2 price were not raised, “then it would have the effect of subsidizing fossil fuels, which cause a lot of damage,” warned the UBA President. This would then “really cost the citizens money”.

Climate money as a solution

Messner also campaigned for “climate money” as a social compensation for rising CO2 prices, which should flow to households via a direct transfer. This is possibly “more visible” than relief through the electricity price. The reimbursement should include around 50 to 70 percent of the income from CO2 pricing, recommended the UBA President. The rest should flow into the ecological restructuring of the economy. On the other hand, an increase in the commuter allowance would be counterproductive, as this would encourage further urban sprawl.

Messner named another important goal of combining climate protection and the protection of biodiversity. “We talk far too little about biodiversity,” he criticized. This is also very disadvantageous for climate protection, “because part of the solution to the problem lies in protecting biodiversity”. So you have to stop cutting down forests and draining moors. An expansion of ecosystems also offers opportunities to achieve negative emissions as required. In addition, a change of direction is necessary in agriculture, where too much fertilizer and slurry are used.